THE IDEA ABOUT SUPPORT

companion 1I have thoroughly enjoyed Kito Diaries from the very day it popped into existence in the blogosphere. I bless the gods, whoever they are and where ever they are, for allowing their muse to endow Pink Panther with an amazing creativity. And to all the brothers, thank you all for making the Kito Diaries idea worthwhile.

Since the inception of this blog, we have heard so much and learned so much about the struggles and the pains of a homosexual person living in Nigeria. Sometimes I feel helpless in the face of so much suffering. I have tried once or twice to reach out to persons who I felt needed friendship or support, but I realize that it simply will not do. I think if we are really serious about helping each other, we need to do something more formal that will actually help those among us who suffer the most.

There are many among us who are HIV positive and who do not have any one to talk to. Some are depressed and suicidal and don’t have someone to lean on an hour of crisis. It is for this reason I suggest that we form support groups here on Kito Diaries.

For now, I have two in mind. One would be for people who are HIV positive and another for people who are on the brink of suicide.

AT THIS POINT, I WOULD LIKE TO BE VERY CLEAR ON SOME ISSUES READERS ARE LIKELY TO WONDER ABOUT.

  1. This is not an opportunity to stigmatize the suffering or gloat about the misfortune of others. Members of the support group must be persons who are kind hearted and passionate about lending a helping hand to a brother in need.
  2. Every communication in these groups must be done with the highest standards of confidentiality. The counselors on such groups must have it hammered into their heads that they must under no circumstances reveal any information that they have access to as a result of their position.
  3. I think these groups should be organized in such a way that the identity of the person seeking help or support will remain UNKNOWN…unless such a person decides to reveal his identity to the support person. That would be his or her choice and the risks of doing so, IF ANY, would be borne by him or her.
  4. The support group for HIV should be made up of medically qualified persons. They would also perform these roles ANONYMOUSLY. They would offer free medical advice to anyone who needs it.
  5. Contact with the support persons would be by EMAIL ONLY. Decision to use other forms of contact e.g. chat media or phone calls could be initiated if necessary. Face-to-face meetings would BE HIGHLY DISCOURAGED unless it is an EMERGENCY or a matter of LIFE AND DEATH. Romantic liaisons between counselors and people asking for support would also be prohibited.
  6. Inappropriate behaviour by any counselor would lead to him or her being immediately removed from the support team.
  7. Persons who have had the particular experience that a particular group is about and have managed to pull through are favoured to become support persons in such groups. E.g. persons currently living with HIV who have somehow found balance and happiness in their lives or people who have battled with and overcome suicidality.
  8. Support persons would not be allowed to impose their religious views on persons needing help. UNLESS he or she has clearly established the religious affiliation or inclination of the person seeking help and such a person is eager to receive help that is based on religious beliefs.
  9. Each person who indicates a need for support would be assigned at least two counselors to make sure he or she always has access to help. If the two assigned counselors are not available or are not doing their jobs satisfactorily, there is room for re-assignment.
  10. The support provided is strictly through written and verbal media and is STRICTLY COMMUNICATIVE in nature.

Okay, that’s it. What do you guys think?

Suggested by Sensei

57 thoughts on “THE IDEA ABOUT SUPPORT

  1. I was out with a friend the other day and we went to a LGBT center… I was totally gopsmacked when I got there. I couldn’t believe there was a support system already in existence here in Nigeria. It was another world to me. The lectures, the counselors… everything left me speechless.

    Brilliant idea.
    Hopefully, this helps us help one another.

  2. Nice idea. Reminds me of the humble origins of the Al-Fatiha foundation. This will do great good. So many scorching souls will find solace.

  3. Let’s just hope this works. Cause I believe that it’s true so many people NEED this kinda support but am wondering if this is too early to introduce here though…..and let me say why…

    KD comments or at least most of the pipo that make comments here are between the ages of 18 to 28 (I said most..it could be more or less)…and ofcoz from the comments given especially on stories written here SOLICITING for ADVICE always produced some negative and downright childish insults thrown at the “advicee”. So dear Sensei are you not gonna wait a bit for some of ‘us’ to grow up or at least put an age range below which one JUST CANNOT be a Support Person. Coz It definitely takes a MATURED person to be a support person and not just cause he is gay and knows a little about the damned disease!!!

    • First of all, maturity hasn’t anything to do with age.
      Secondly, not all readers of KD are commenters. So, perhaps there are those who just read who might feel the need to volunteer.
      It’s never too early to extend support to someone suffering. If you had the ‘damned disease’, you’d know that.

    • There’s always the possibility of the reason for your caution happening. But those who are scornful will remain scornful no matter when you suggest the initiative. There’s no growing up for anyone without a heart.

      • No my dear….i didn’t mean it to say those that have it are damned oh God no!!! on the contrary what I meant and which is true was that….HIV IS DAMNED!!! anything that is poised to come against God’s people is doomed to fail and therefore give it time THERE MUST SOON BE A CURE!! So the disease is just so damned like malaria and fever once was!!….soon there would be a cleaner cure for CANCER TOO watch out!!

    • ‘Damned disease’ … your tendency to stigmatize which is somehow linked to your other obnoxious traits which i have earlier illustrated and due to more important issues, i shall not bother to rehash them… in summary, dude: you have serious issues and a lot of crap going on in your head, sort it out fast b4 it renders you a perpetual object of scorn and derision – and to think you spoke so condescendingly about younger people..
      Smh … if the crap you just spewed out is maturity, I’d rather be immature!!

      • lol oucch! I was going to go on abt how ironic it was for him to bring up the issue of maturity…but then I didnt want to play the bitchy one again today. What bothers me the most is his need to capitalize mid sentences and the profuse use of exclamation marks . i’m like, a grown, presumably educated man wrote this?

        Glad someone clocked the negro.

    • The guy that writes James journal is about 20yrs old if I can remember correctly. He has continously displayed high level of maturity,learning and decorum. Iam aware that a couple of guys here who are in the habit of using abusive words on people are working adults in there late 20s and 30s. Yes age has a lot to do but not exclusively. The idea of a support group is beautiful but I doubt if we have the capacity to go on with it

  4. This is what I have always rooted for! Support to help deal with these difficulties!

    I heard of a suicide attempt last week! The boy is 22 and his parents had found out and were dragging him from one church to the other for deliverance! He wanted to end his life!

    Talking to an older person who has been through the same thing is just what he needs!

    I am in Sensei

    • Just like DM am so ooo IN especially for people who want to take their lives….why in my father’s name would anyone want to when this world is full of HIS LOVE!!!

      Anyway I know I know…just ranting up there….ofcoz I would love to support and help out anybody who just wants to end it….whaaaaaat!!! coz I was there once and I know how it feels….However pinky don’t forget that maturity though it’s not all about age (as my beautiful James has always shown us in his writing) but is all about EXPOSURE!!! And EXPERIENCE!!! You can’t rule these out….and if the pipo that are always saying and ADVOCATING THE ME ME PRINCIPLE here are the ones going to give this kinda MATURED (the word again for emphasis) support…..Hmmmm!!!!

      Coz you see giving this kinda support is actually GIVING of yourself and not THINKING of yourself anymore…..you would have to be SELFLESS to walk in someone’s else’s shoes and no more SELFISHNESS or SELFCENTERED notions will or can be tolerated or else this just won’t work. …..just clarifying ooooo!!!

      • Yes you but others nko??? Phew!!!

        Sensei love…..brilliant brilliant idea I must say BUT PUT UP age restrictions too…..pls!

      • @King abi Lord now! Maturity has never been a function of age! Some people here are of age but whenever they write something you shudder!

        I don’t have to name names

      • Oh true DM too true…oh well then we just have to be a little bit more careful in the screening process coz THIS KINDA SUPPORT IS NEEDED!! but should be handled very well coz we all know the APROKO traits that are so inherent in d gay genes…hmmn!!!…

        Coz nothing is worse than allowing one juvenile (in age or mind) to support a suicidal person and THEN GO AHEAD TO STREAM IT ON THE INTERNET!!!! Oh gosh…..i shudder too!!

  5. It’s a brilliant idea.. also here in FCT, there are already existing support centers, equipped with HAARTS, clinics and trained personnels. They also have lil support groups tht visits homes and etc.. they are not efficient, but they are making huge impacts,.. while I ranted all these, is if u wanna be a great help to somebody living with HIV, u have to know where at least to take them, for viral load and CD4 counts.. talking alone won’t be enough. Then for suicidal members, u also need basic training to not scorn their pains,..people threshold aint same.. soothing words and drugs, goes a long way to help… NB do u know it’s contraindicative to give cheese to person with chronic depression? we all need, kinda training.. so I suggest, people in same environment meet and discuss.. I know Khaleesi, and I nominate him..

    • I nominate Khaleesi cus he is a brilliant lawyer, to draft a kinda of codes and guidelines.. and abiding laws, to avoid people gossiping and telling on others secrets.. atleast he can make such laws for Abj dwellers,.. or a uniformed one..

      • no, darling, its not contraindicated to give cheese to sufferers from depression. it only when they are on certain drugs. All your suggestions were great. Thank you!

  6. It’s a welcome idea – the details can always be fine-tuned as we go along. From time to time we should receive updates here about progress made forming these groups, lest it becomes an abandoned project. I guess you, Sensei, will have to be in charge of things.

    Considering the state of many public hospitals, mammoth crowd of patients and all, effective counselling and support for PLWHA are a dream.

    It will be hard, though. Illness (of any sort) is a difficult thing to talk about, so we should understand if there are misgivings.

    On romantic liaisons…err, it will happen. No need to prohibit anything. But whatever participants do behind closed doors should be their business. I want to believe the members of the groups will be adults and know that the work to be done in these groups comes FIRST.

    Then, um, I want to know if there’s a, well, support group for kito victims. My former bosses tell me I work best around gleaming kitchen knives and vials of rat poison.

    And to those going through a dark phase, wishing to end it all, I hope you hang in there – really. It gets better. If you give in to the temptation to end it, then the world has won! You are not alone; MOST of us have gone through similar. Although I have never contemplated suicide, my teenage years were very dark. I was unhappy for the most part and so withdrawn I began to ask myself if I was the same kid who, in primary school, no list of noisemakers was ever complete without my name! I don’t miss those years, I don’t even have up to 10 photos from that time. But I remain inspired by the experience. So, please, hang in there. You can do it.

    Well done, Sensei!

  7. It’s a brilliant idea but must be handled with a lot of caution…

    It has to be closely monitored and several background checks done on both counsellor and counselled.

    Not everyone that reads this blog comments and several out there are already scheming on how to turn this into an extortion or gay bashing opportunity.

    Overall, it’s risky but worth it a million times over!

    Am in with regards to the suicide as I have been in those shoes several times before after I found out that making over 60 cuts on my wrists wasn’t ‘killing’ me as fast as I wanted it to.

  8. seems like a great idea, it just needs to be a little bit more thought through. i think it shouldn’t be exclusive to HIV positive ppl or suicidal ppl alone, but just gay guys in general that need a shoulder to lean on. And I think it should be one sole group, not divided into two parts .

    “…Members of the support group must be persons who are kind hearted and passionate about lending a helping hand
    to a brother ” annnndd this pretty much disqualifies me from being in this group 😀

  9. I have heard of TB/HIV support groups in Nigeria. There are more like gossip groups. Went to one in Abuja to check on a friend and they insisted on running HIV test on me….I told him…NO….darling take a seat….HIV test is voluntary and not by force. Gogo too dey this country. Una too talk. Even the so-called Doctors that you feel you can trust. Told one Doctor friend of my health issue and he went ahead to caution my friend to beware of me. Talk about confidence. I rest my case

  10. Would have loved this totally if not for the tendency of my brothers to share your private information to all who cares to listen. All i can say is i love the way Sensei drafted the objectives and Mode of operation of the group, it looks very legal.

  11. Here is what I think; there should be one support group with different kinds of volunteers! One email address provided which will be administered by someone who will be in charge of the programme.

    If you need help send an email, the admin will decide who to link you up with amongst the volunteers, depending on what kind of situation you are dealing with. Aside from HIV counselling which you may need training for, providing help in dark times doesn’t need a lot of training! People sometimes just want a friendly shoulder who understands to lean on and listen to them, helping them put things in perspective.

    Having said that, no one should be allowed to request the help of a particular person! I don’t need to state my reason for adding this clause do i?

    ***sips tea***

    • Oh no Mrs M, I’m there with u *pours myself a cup*.
      This was my thought exactly. No support should be done here. There can be two.admins for the two parts or three if we wanna add kito victims support group. They can create special emails where people with problems can send messages to. And then it would be their duty to pair them with counsellors. As for being discreet, I guess everyone cannot be a counsellor and those who need help can choose not to disclose all of their personal info to their counsellor.
      Ps: Lord or is it King should not be allowed to become a counsellor, not if he refers to HIV as the ‘damned disease’. How is he going to help people going through depression and are on the verge of committing suicide? Talk about insensitive.

      • Dear Brian you might want to listen first and maybe read up some more English before writing it….the disease as I explained above is DAMNED and not the carrier….lol!!!

        In fact i prefer damned than dreaded coz it definitely would soon get a cure….mark my words!!!

      • Pinky I saw what you did there…You left where Mrs M commented and came to Lord’s comment to commend Mrs M abi??? Ok, kontinu…Diaris God o. And I know, somewhere deep inside, you wanted to write: “Brilliant answer, Brian Collins”, buh that’s none of my business.

  12. This is a very good idea. I guess it is the next stage when it comes to groups as this. I too was depressed and living in despair till I got help from someone online.
    I am in medicine and can help a little.
    I envision a situation where we rally around and become a family for ourselves. Especially for those who have been rejected by their families.
    I will add though that it is important that whoever decides to help others must be someone who is comfortable with his sexuality, not some confused person who will offer lame statements that will cause more harm than good.
    We must come with a non-judgemental attitude. Respect for the individual ought to be maintained regardless of religion, HIV status or social standing. There should be no conversion to any religion or evangelism to become born again.
    Everyone should be accepted as they and support offered when needed.
    I agree confidentiality cannot be overemphasised.

  13. This is a brilliant idea and I support it 100%.
    Lots of people need help out there. Lots. But you won’t really know because many of them try to mask their struggles; unless you know how to notice those subtle signs of inner trouble and know how to gain the person’s trust and probe further and deeper into his “suffering”.

    I’m in, Pinky.
    Thanks for bringing this up, Sensei.

  14. sounds like an awesome idea. i’ve always dreamed of being able to help younger gay people around ere given how turbulent my own younger years were and the amount of people who seem to be disillusioned, confused and also vulnerable because of their sexual orientation.

    i would like to be able to get involved in any capacity i’m allowed to. all background checks are welcome. i suppose we’ll have more information here as this progresses.

    a full fledged ngo isn’t a terribly bad idea either. might be easier to access more funding and create a bigger impact.

    cheers

  15. I guess most people are in support and agreed, there should not be an age restriction. Suffering has no age barrier.
    A lot of people saying they are in, who then are those needing the support? Maybe the silent readers perharps. Like every idea, good or bad, it begins first with an idea, then a plan and a structure. It gets worked on as time goes, rules changed, others dropped while new rules added. Its a process, how good the idea finally transforms into depends on everybody involved.
    I did not expect anything less from sensei, a good plan this is.
    To those who are already indicating to be counselors, a note of caution. Counselling is hard, its emotionally tasking, you get to soak up another person’s problems and ultimately live with them. You have to be mentally strong, something as simple as sharing an experience of not ending your life would not just cut it.
    Have a great day peeps, remain happy and strong.

  16. Great, well-articulated idea!! Support of us, for us and by us! ! This is sorely needed, but it must be well thought out and all kinks ironed out. Great efforts must also be made to preserve confidentiality … would be honoured to serve in any capacity …

  17. Ok, I like the idea. I’ve always wanted to be a public speaker. Been working on my writing & speech skills, I’m getting there. My interest is mostly on the very young and naive individuals who are still confused. As many of us had no help in coming to terms with our sexuality, I’d like to help someone out one day.

  18. Have you ever thought of the heart that resonates with real compassion, something immaterial, but this is the real support we really need from others. A real compassion not pretentious, of course if it is real it will be followed by true action. That is the real support.

  19. Like everyone already mentioned, the idea has “GREAT” written all over it.
    But like a number of guys have mentioned, the reach and scope of group needs to expand to cover young men dealing with the emotional imbalance that comes with ur sexuality, facing it or keeping it on the low, how to handle issues regarding sex, issues bordering of self worth and respect which all results to depression if not well handled and in worse cases light the path to suicide. So its reach should focus on being gay and moving forward. Some ppl just want to be seen and want someone to take out time to listen to them. Some of us just want to talk and unburden ourselves. That is what I think should be the primary focus, while sections/departments could be created to address sepcific or more serious issues such as HIV, Kito, Suicide etc

  20. Best thing I’ve read on KD.
    Dear PP, pls :
    1. Appoint a coordinator.
    2. Assign the group email address to him/her
    3. Assemble an organizing meeting of 3-5 assistant coordinators to plan.
    4. Draft a brief protocol. A guide-manual. Basic attributes and no-nos of counseling .
    5. 3 support groups are key a) living with HIV b) Suicide c) Kito Response Team

    Having said all these, I am scared of the toxic mindset of the average Nigerian, straight or gay. Most people would be unable to qualify as counsellors. I wish us success. This idea can go a long way. I have been a counselor and worked with support groups and will be glad to help.

  21. Just when i thought tonight i would email Pinky and ask for the Psychiatrist’s contacts this pops up
    Being Gay and living with HIV is no childs’ play not with the trailing bouts of depression and all……
    But like Scarlett O’Hara said ”Never again will i go Hungry” and i rephrase”Never again will i go down that path”….
    So thumbs up to you Sensei for such brilliant suggestion and to you Tigress in case no has ever told you ”you are simply wonderful in spirit and soul”(however it’s said in Chinese)
    I will love and be glad to help in any way i can…
    PEACE people!!

  22. Dear Sensei,

    Yes, I love you for this. Nicely thought out and articulated.If well executed, this will go a long way to save lives.

    I have worked with a group that helps and counsels PLWHA for two years plus so if you people think I can help in anyway, tell me, I would be honoured to.

    I agree that confidentiality cannot be overemphasized and at least for the beginning part of it, we need to keep it virtual. There may be times when virtual meetings-over the internet audio meetings-will become necessary for the counselors and the counselled or however the combo works, I could assist with this, and any other IT that I have the expertise to resolve, if needed. After all, it’s something I do for fun.

    In the end, all I want is to see as much people as possible benefit from this at no cost. Let’s just say it’s a way for us who feel we have overcome against all odds to tell the society that “Although you threw sour lemons at us, we were able to make priceless lemonades”.

    I will always say, if you end up being selected as a counselor, always remember the golden rule. Because, in life, in the end of it all, what goes around, always, SURELY, comes around.

    Thanks again Sensei.
    Thanks pinky for KD, you may never know the seed you have planted.

  23. Great job you are doing here KD. And even beautiful people on this page. I’d love to help. I have lived with this virus for over 15 years or more, and you can be rest assured of your privacy. It’s no longer a death sentence… and no one should force anyone to disclose their status. Get virally suppressed by being on medication. That way, you can hardly infect anyone else. Most importantly, protect yourself from other STD’s. That’s what crashes you. Other than that, Live your life to the fullest.

  24. I pray that this doesn’t get shoved under the rug,its a welcomed suggestion. I’ve listened to a friend talk about his struggle and deep down I would really wanna help and he doesn’t even know how much I value the friendship seeing as he was able to trust me with it, I will always be there for him no matter how little my help

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